Tag Archives: Nottinghamshire

A certain Pedigree

via Daily Prompt: Pedigree

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The first edition cover of the novel “Lady Chaterley’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence. Lawrence who published this privately in 1928 in Italy, then in 1929 in France and Australia. At that time the text was expurgated. An unexpurgated edition wasn’t published until 1960, in England, and an obscenity trial ensued againts the publisher – Penguin Books. Penguin won and ever since the novel has been in print.

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An original Penguin edition.

There are now several dozen covers, and different publishers from Bantam, Harper, Ace, to Wordsworth and more in the years since. Back in 1998, during the Perth Arts Festival, an English theatre company brought Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Perth and we decided to go. It was an adaptation for a two character play. It was produced in the grounds of the historic Tranby House on the Swan River (complete with hamper dinner). The play was steamy as are the sex scenes in Lawrences novel, but the play did miss the social commentary out, where Lawrence was critiquing the social order of post WW1 Britain and its classism. Lawrence was also deriding the British penchant for staid morality, at least on the surface. The novel certainly achieved that, but the play lost some of it. Nonetheless, it was well acted πŸ™‚ and enjoyable.

The novel is set where I was born – Nottinghamshire, and where Lawrence grew up. My father’s family always maintained that the game keeper Mellors, while said to be a character based on a composite of real people, was in fact based on one of my father’s great-uncles, who had lived as Mellors had lived.

In another twist, that night, after the play had ended and the crowd had thinned, I went to speak to the director, and told him about that family legend. He told me it was likely true, and that this particular play adaptation was by a woman whose surname was Cannon. I’ve since forgotten her first name, she has most likely died since as she was well into her 70s then. But a real connection by name.

I haven’t pursued any of it as it simply makes for an interesting dinner story, and I have no need to pursue it really. But if it were true, and there are clues to suggest it is, then I have an interesting pedigree.

But pedigree aside, I have always been grateful for Lawrence’s work, and the theme of liberation in Lady Chatterley in particular. I found that my sexual identity wasn’t located in the stereo-typical moralisms of my parents, or religion, or the gatekeepers of society in general. That women weren’t stereotypically just mothers and trapped in a role. I was encouraged by Lawrence’s vision of potential class disintegration, that status and rights were fake compared to real feelings and self-expression. In many ways I experienced Lady Chatterley as iconoclastic, Lawrence tearing at claustrophobic and constipated society. He was ahead of his time in many ways, as his essays show. But he was also just in time – he was there writing and challenging when it was the right time, preparing for a new generation, inspiring others.

I hope we all have a pedigree that has a lineage back to people like Lawrence who stick their necks out for creativity, expression, free thinking, open-mindedness, generosity, and who are visionary, pushing the boundaries of society, looking for liberation, looking to transcend petty moralisms, and hinting at a deeper, richer maturity, not for its own sake, but for the sake of joy and life.

One of my favourite quotes from Lawrence:

“I shall be glad when yo have strangled the invincible respectability that dogs your steps.”Β 

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Robin Hood

via Daily Prompt: Legend

I was born in Nottingham, and lived in Nottinghamshire until my parents decided to migrate to Australia. Sherwood Forest was not too far away from where we lived , and we did go past it in our travels, though we never stopped to visit it properly.

(Photo: sherwoodforest.org.uk)

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I grew up with the legend of Robin Hood. As a child I was captivated and enthralled. Comics, books, TV shows I devoured.

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But as I grew up I began to take a more serious historical perspective. The legend is now so embelished it has become more fantasy. The origins are of a working man who gathers a band of men in Sherwood Forest and take to robbery. The story becomes embelished with Robin becoming a man of royal blood, who has a girlfriend and who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, and who fights to right injustices.

Evidence of the legend is found in written work in the period 500 – 1500. William Langland wrote of Robin Hood in ‘Piers Ploughman’ in 1377, after which there are several works that bring up the story. After 1400 the legend even takes on a religious flavour, a salvation style story.

The legend has remained just that with no evidence of a veifiable real person. The story seems to have developed out of discontent among the peasnts and workers, where a person comes along and restores justice. Academic research has failed to find a real Robin Hood. Nonetheles, I really like the legend because it speaks of how culture dreams of a better world, and for me that’s how legends are helpful, they lift us up. It doesn’t matter that Robin Hood isn’t real, it matters that there is a narrative of hope and justice.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Homage

via Daily Prompt: Homage

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A few years ago, on our way home from holidays, we decided to (I decided to, Lyn indulged me) drop in at the Dwellingup train museum. As it happened we’d timed it just as one of the stem trains had come in from a tourist run and I was able to take several photos of the loco coming in, reversing, the fireman cleaning out the fire box, and the marshalling of the coaches. It was a great time. For me it was paying homage to a two things: an age of steam that was crucial to the development of the world (and no longer possible given the polution and carbon hungry nature of steam); and my childhood spent catching steam trains. While pollution is bad for the universe, I sill miss the smell of burning coal, the hiss of steam, the whoosh of pistons, and the clanking of steel wheels on rail. It was like they say, a steel horse. it was as if it were alive, pulsating and vibrating, thrumming and moving, a living, breathing beast.

As a child growing up in Nottinghamshire, I was fortunate in my love of trains to live near a rail line and to see steam trains daily. My father took me across Nottinghamshire to indulge me in transpotting (taking down the numbers of the trains coming past and looking out for well-known or famous locos. On my way to school I had to pass by a major goods marshalling yard, and it was fun to observe the manoeuvres of locos and wagons. As a child coming to Australia I discovered that steam was just as much a part of the rail system here, even though it was slowly being phased out for diesel.

My passion segued to rail modelling. So in many ways I pay homage to steam trains, and I miss them because they were such a part of my life, the sounds, smells, feelings and visual are part of me. I do enjoy diesel and electric too, but it just isn’t the same.

pvcann.com

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